SCOTTS VALLEY -- The next six months will be a flurry of activity for a group of community theater enthusiasts as they work to pull the pieces together to operate a planned performing arts facility here.
But the biggest challenge will be identifying $3.5 million in capital funding sources. Those funds would be used to transform the 9,000-square-foot, now-vacant space next to the library on Kings Village Road -- once part of a roller skating rink -- into a venue that will draw both performers and patrons from throughout Santa Cruz and surrounding counties.
At Wednesday's meeting, City Council members unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Scotts Valley Community Theater Guild. Lee Besse addressed the council as the group's representative, telling city leaders that during the last two months, he's received "overwhelming support from the public" for the proposed facility and assembled a 12-member board of directors with expertise in everything from theater to budgets and operating businesses.
Once the funds are raised and the theater opens, revenue would come in the form of rent, services and programs. Those funds would then be used to cover operational and other costs, including salaries for however many employees are hired to staff the venue. One of the board members, Lew Rubin, said he's previously handled finances for Scotts Valley Performing Arts, and told the council he's "looking forward to this new challenge. It's a beautiful space and I hope we can build it out so it can be something the entire county can be proud of."
Between now and August, the group will work to pull all of the documentation together to obtain 501(c)(3) status, while also producing a marketing, operations, facilities and other plans. As for funding, the group initially will focus on the capital improvements and reach out to Scotts Valley and surrounding communities, as well as such national retailers such as Costco and Home Depot. Once the $3.5 million has been raised, the group will then turn its focus to operational costs.
But the facility will still be owned by the city. Asked by council member Stephany Aguilar who will pay for repairs and maintenance, Besse said the two entities will have to meet later to figure out that and other details.
"Certainly there will be very detailed discussions following (this meeting) where we can flesh out these issues," he added.
Councilman Jim Reed said he was "impressed, close to amazed," at how far the group had come since Besse first approached the city in December, saying members took their "passion and drive" for community theater and presented a plan Wednesday that "now has flesh and bones."
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